When I give a gift it is based solely on my relationship to the couple AND what I can afford at the time, because I do not link gift giving to hosting level at all, regardless of whether I am the host or guest at the time. I truly believe that we cheapen the word gift when we start saying that we must make sure not to cost the "hosts" any money. If I give $200, I am giving a $200 gift, not a $50 gift and a $150 entrance fee. The entire amount is purely a gift, one given voluntarily and with love and without a thought of "paying my way". I would prefer it that way as both a guest AND a host and I would hate the thought as a host that people gave more than they could reasonably afford just to try to help me pay for my event.
I can't wrap my mind around a thought process where the hosts shouldn't have to spend any of their own money for the event that they desire. I host lots of parties and of course it costs money to host! That's what hosting means, in fact. The host is responsible for costs and I as the guest am supposed to enjoy the event without worrying if I am costing the host money. Those are not the feelings that guests are supposed to be dealing with when they are invited to an event.
Indeed. Do we now extrapolate that to, when invited to someone's home, we have to interrogate/determine/guess what the host is serving and "cover our plate" with a hostess gift of exactly that same amount?
I did not come from a "cover your plate" culture. The last two weddings I attended, I gave a $450 Kitchenaid Mixer and a $40 serving tray with a $75 gift card - the cost of the gift depended upon my relationship with the couple, not some cost calculation. In my culture, you either host or you don't - you don't expect a guest to pay for your hospitality - that negates the entire meaning of the word.
Regarding the bolded - I don't think anyone has suggested anything like that. That's a completely different situation.
Many posters are saying that they understand WillyN illy's explanation, then go on to say something like the above. "you don't expect a guest to pay for your hospitality
- that negates the entire meaning of the word."
The whole point of 'cover your plate', as WillyNilly explained, is that it is not an expectation of the hosts. It doesn't enter their heads that their guests should cover their plate. They decide on their budget and pay for their wedding in whatever way they they can afford. They invite the people they would like to host.
Then, as they open each gift, and find that Aunt Mary gave them $20, and Aunt Susan gave them an entire set of china, they are equally delighted with each gift that they should receive anything at all, and grateful that their friends and relations thought so well of them that that they attended their wedding, and were as generous as they were.
Truly, from the polite hosts' point of view, that's what is in their heads, I promise. No-one expects their guests to give $xxx as an entrance fee, or has a private laugh because Aunt Mary guessed the cost of her dinner so badly. No-one expects people to google venues and find the exact cost of their meal. These all seem to be reasons that people have given for not liking the system, and seriously, from the polite hosts' perspectives, it's truly not expected.
Of course, there are rude people, like the example in the OP, who wreck any system.
As some others have pointed out - there are different methods for determining how much we spend on any gift. This is just one system that guests
might use as a guide. Not for hosts to use an an expectation.
Others use closeness to the couple as a guide, or maybe some people give every couple whose wedding they ever attend a flat rate of $100 regardless of their relationship
. Which of those is more fair? Is it fair to rank your friends and relations in a list from closest to furthest and have a chart with a monetary value based on their ranking? What if you like the bride, but not the groom - does the couple as a pair slip down the rankings in that case, and attract a lesser gift? What about the second system there. Do you give $100 from now until 2050, or index with inflation?
There's some level of ridiculousness in every system for deciding how much to spend on a gift for a wedding. I'm not sure why this particular system for guests to use when deciding on a value of a gift garners quite so much bile, as compared to the others. As hosts we need to understand that everyone has very different systems and amounts they can afford, and be grateful for any gift received, which they should be doing, regardless of how their guests decide how much to give.